Wed, 01 Jun 2011 Airfoil 4 review
Stream audio from any source to supported devices on your network
With the introduction of AirPlay and Home Sharing support for iOS devices, streaming audio and video between your various computing devices is getting a fair measure of Apple’s attention. But what about content that isn’t contained in your Mac’s iTunes library? For that, there’s Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil for Mac.
Airfoil lets you stream any audio on your Mac to a variety of devices, including Apple’s AirPort Express Base Stations and Apple TV units, other computers (Mac, Windows, or Linux) running Rogue Amoeba’s free Airfoil Speakers application and iOS devices. You can stream audio to multiple devices simultaneously, and using the included Airfoil Video Player, you can even stream a video’s soundtrack and – the tricky part – expect the audio and video to be in sync.
Launch Airfoil and you’ll see a list of all Airfoil-compatible devices available on your local network. Select those devices you wish to send audio to and, if you like, adjust the volume for each separately. From a pop-up menu at the top of the Airfoil window, choose a source and start it playing.
The ability to play web video via the Airfoil’s Video Player, streaming that video’s audio track to remote devices, is also welcome, but it requires a lot of processing power. This is reflected in the quality of the video stream.
Take your music with you whether at home or out with a tool that streams all your audio
We tested several video clips and found that while the video displayed on our Mac Pro’s screen was in sync with the audio stream, it wasn’t as smooth as it was when viewed directly in a web browser.
Rogue Amoeba says the faster your Mac’s processor, the better Airfoil Video Player performs. This less-than-perfect playback issue aside, Airfoil for Mac remains a solid and valuable utility.